1. New England Patriots
Hard to imagine the Patriots not making another appearance in the AFC Championship game.
2. Miami Dolphins
Even without Ryan Tannehill, they’re still good enough to make another trip to the playoffs.
3. Buffalo Bills
They’ve hit the reset button once again with changes in the front office and the coaching staff.
4. New York Jets
With no clear cut franchise quarterback, they will be playing for one in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Head Coach: Bill Belichick
Key Position: Wide Receiver
With Julian Edelman going to miss the entire season due to an ACL injury, all eyes will be on the players that Tom Brady will be throwing the ball to. Number one will be TE Rob Gronkowski and his health, but another player to watch is Brandin Cooks. The former first rounder for New Orleans has to live up to his potential.
Key Acquisitions: CB Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo Bills), LB David Harris (New York Jets), RB Mike Gillislee (Buffalo Bills), TE Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis Colts), WR Brandin Cooks (New Orleans Saints)
Key Rookies: DE Derek Rivers
Head Coach: Adam Gase
Key Position: Quarterback
This wouldn’t have been a problem for the Dolphins, but it becomes one with Ryan Tannehill’s ACL injury. In steps Jay Cutler who was going to a broadcaster instead of a football player. He has experience in head coach Adam Gase’s play-style, so it shouldn’t be too much of a learning curve.
Key Acquisitions: G Ted Larsen (Chicago Bears), DE William Hayes (Los Angeles Rams), LB Lawrence Timmons (Pittsburgh Steelers), QB Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears), S Nate Allen (Oakland Raiders), TE Julius Thomas (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Key Rookies: DE Charles Harris, LB Raekwon McMillan
Head Coach: Sean McDermott (Carolina Panthers)
Key Position: Wide Receiver
They traded away their best playmaker in the receiving corp in Sammy Watkins. In his stead they acquired Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia. He’s a solid wideout, but not considered a number one target. Buffalo will have to spread it around a lot and rely heavily on running the ball once again.
Key Acquisitions: CB E.J. Gaines (Los Angeles Rams), CB Shareece Wright (Baltimore Ravens), FB Patrick DiMarco (Atlanta Falcons), RB Mike Tolbert (Carolina Panthers), K Stephen Hauschka (Seattle Seahawks), S Micah Hyde (Green Bay Packers), S Jordan Poyer (Cleveland Browns), WR Philly Brown (Carolina Panthers), WR Jordan Matthews (Philadelphia Eagles)
Key Rookies: CB Tre’Davious White, WR Zay Jones, T Dion Dawkins
Head Coach: Todd Bowles
Key Position: Everything
This will be a trying year for the Jets. They didn’t solve their quarterback problem and have almost no playmakers to help alleviate that problem. Their defense has some promise, but only if a few of their star performers start to play like their former selves.
Key Acquisitions: CB Morris Claiborne (Dallas Cowboys), DE Kony Ealy (New England Patriots), K Chandler Catanzaro (Arizona Cardinals), QB Josh McCown (Cleveland Browns), T Kelvin Beachum (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Key Rookies: S Jamal Adams, S Marcus Maye, WR ArDarius Stewart, WR Chad Hansen, TE Jordan Leggett